War Isn’t Hell, It’s Entertainment

Essays on Visual Media and the Representation of Conflict


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About the Book

Real war is a cruel theater of death, yet it is also an exciting narrative exploited for national, political and commercial purposes and turned into numerous films, television shows, computer games, news stories and reenactment plays. These essays examine the relationship between war, visual media and entertainment from a number of academic perspectives. Key topics include how war is used as an imaginary site to stage dramas; how boundaries between war, media, and entertainment dissolve as new media alters the formal qualities of representation; how entertainment is used to engage audiences; and what effect products of war and entertainment have on consumers of popular culture.

About the Author(s)

Rikke Schubart is director of studies and associate professor of literature, media and cultural studies at the University of Southern Denmark.
Fabian Virchow holds an interim professorship at the Center for Conflict Studies at Philipps University, Germany.
Debra White-Stanley is an assistant professor of film studies at Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tanja Thomas is a professor of communication studies and media studies at The University of Lueneburg, Germany.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Rikke Schubart , Fabian Virchow, Debra White-Stanley and Tanja Thomas
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 290
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3558-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2777-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Rikke Schubart)      1

Part One. The Public War Body

1. War Porn: Spectacle and Seduction in Contemporary American War Memorials

(Erika Doss)      13

2. Sporting Aces and the Military: Performance, Discipline, and Nationalism in the Fields of Honor

(Fabian Virchow)      31

3. The Camera at War: When Soldiers Become War Photographers

(Mette Mortensen)      44

4. Getting the Story Right: Myth, Meaning, and Gendered War Mythology in the Case of Jessica Lynch

(Rikke Schubart)      61

5. Celebrities and 9/11: “A Simple Show of Unity”

(Sue Collins)      77

Part Two. War and Entertainment

6. Gender Management, Popular Culture, and the Military

(Tanja Thomas)      97

7. “Tell Me That Wasn’t Fun”: Watching the Battle Scenes in Master and Commander with a Smile on Your Face

(Anne Gjelsvik)      115

8. Comic Situations/Endless War: M*A*S*H and War as Entertainment

(Yvonne Tasker)      132

9. Lavishing the Body Politic: The Manchurian Candidate

(Debra White-Stanley)      150

10. Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Image and Reality

(Lawrence H. Suid)      167

Part Three. Playing at War

11. The Authentic Illusion: Twentieth Century War Reenactors and the Ownership of History

(Jenny Thompson)      181

12. Digital War Games and Post 9/11 Geographies of Militarism

(Marcus Power)      198

13. The Political Battlefield of Pro-Arab Video Games on Palestinian Screens

(Helga Tawil-Souri)      215

14. Manufacturing Militainment: Video Game Producers and Military Brand Games

(Matthew Thomas Payne)      238

15. War/Games: The Art of Rules and Strategies

(Bo Kampmann Walther)      256

Abbreviations, Acronyms and Terms      273

About the Contributors      275

Index      279

Book Reviews & Awards

“makes an important contribution to the field of media and conflict”—Cinema Journal.